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How Airbnb got its IPO plans back on track

It’s been a roller-coaster year for Airbnb and its much-anticipated plans for an initial public offering or IPO. The home-sharing platform had planned to file back in March to go public, but then coronavirus hit and its revenue nose-dived.

Now, it looks like plans are back on track. Airbnb confidentially filed its IPO paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission in mid-August. None of the financial specifics were revealed, but the company was valued at $18 billion in its last funding round in April, which is a long way down from its previous, 2017 valuation of $31 billion.

Of course, like the entire tourism industry, the coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous effect on Airbnb’s finances. New bookings stopped, cancellation rates soared, refunds to hosts and guests cost millions, and revenue fell, even as cost-cutting measures such as layoffs were implemented. To help mitigate this, it was forced to fundraise $2 billion in debt and equity securities in April 2020 with onerous terms.

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